For our first DIY project ever as well as the first one in the new house, I think we did a stand up job. I’ve always been so fascinated and intrigued by home improvement, DIY, crafting and interior design. I love putting your own touch on a space and creating an environment that is reflective of who you are.
I knew from the very beginning I wanted a house that was 8-15 years old in design. Something that was move in ready but outdated. That way we could take our time with the renovations and projects without feeling rushed. Our past two homes were brand new, so although they weren’t exactly what we would like it seemed wasteful to redo anything. Although we did make some small changes to our last home that completely changed the space!
One of my favourite styles is modern farmhouse. Something about those cozy vibes, being more connected to nature and animals while still being elegant and modern just sends me. Wainscotting, Board & Batten, crown molding 🤤, that’s what its all about. So naturally, to up level Huntly’s room and connect to my inner Jillian Harris, I decided some board and batten was needed.
Huntly’s room isn’t perfectly square and has a lot of weird spaces like the large window sill, the closet that pops out, and short obscure walls. This caused us to look at it from a wall to wall perspective first then as a cohesive room. I’ll get more into what I mean by that later on.
- cloth & bucket (to wash walls)
- Screwdriver (to remove light switches, outlet covers, vents etc)
- Painters tape
- Measuring tape
- Wood nails
- Wood Caulking (that can be painted over)
- Board (plywood or MDF baseboards)
- Stud finder
Measuring Out Your Supplies
The first step was to figure out what kind of look we were going to go for and how much supplies we needed. The great thing about board and batten is that you can really give it whatever look you want. From board spacing, sizing and framing along with adding things like a narrow shelf around the top or not, connecting to a baseboard or not etc. We decided to use 1 X 4 X 10’s that were already sanded. But you can also use baseboards to limit the work and simplify the project further.
First thing I recommend doing is looking at the room or space you are wanting to do and deciding how much space you want between each board. We ended up deciding on 15.5”in between each board.
Once the spacing was decided, it was time to figure out how wide of a board we wanted to use. We decided to go for a thicker width and went with a 1 X 4 (which technically measures to 1 X 3.5”).
From there I measured the entire room, wall by wall to get a total of how much wall I need to cover. For Huntly’s room it ended up being 489” inches total.
Total wall space to cover = 489” inches
Space between each board = 15.5” inches
Board size = 3.5” inches
Next, I counted out roughly how many boards I thought I could fit around the room based off of those measurements and landed on 25. This was just a guesstimate that can be adjusted once we start doing the math. It just provides a starting point for you to work at.
Total wall space to cover = 489” inches
Space between each board = 15.5” inches
Board size = 3.5” inches
Total boards = 25
Total space each board will take up in the room = 25 X 3.5” = 87.5”
Then I took the total wall space 489”
Subtract the total wall coverage from the boards 87.5”
To get 402.5” — This is the total space that will be open wall
Which you can confirm by dividing 402.5”/15.5 (space between each board) = 25.9 boards
The 0.9” discrepancy figures itself out, because like I said, his room is an obscure shape so we looked at each wall individually once we got these numbers and spacing.
I also just so happen to guess that I guessed the right number of boards (25) on the first try, we’ll call it beginners luck! 😉
To be certain before we started nailing boards into the wall, I measured out each board and marked it with tape. We didn’t have any rhyme or reason to which wall we started on or where on the wall we started the first vertical piece.
Now that we had the number of vertical boards we had to figure out how many feet we needed to cover with the horizontal boards. Originally we weren’t planning on doing a horizontal boards along the bottom above the baseboards but in the end decide that we should and I’m so happy we did!
This is pretty simple as we already have the total for the wall space in inches, we just needed to convert that total to feet 490” inches = 40.833 ft so lets round up to 41ft. Then we take that and multiply that by two for the top and bottom to get 82ft total for horizontal boards.
So now we know we need 25 vertical boards and 82ft of horizontal boards, its time to figure out the height of the board and batten on the wall. We measured from the top of the baseboard up 39” inches. This was how tall we wanted the board and batten up the wall, but we have to remember to account for the top and bottom horizontal boards which are each 3.5” X 2 pieces = 7”. Subtract the 7” from the total height of 39” to get to 32” for each vertical piece.
To summarize because I know this can be hella confusing!
Total vertical boards = 25
Total space between vertical boards = 15.5”
Total height of vertical boards = 32” (converted to feet = 3.25 ft)
Total height of board and batten feature = 39”
Total feet needed for horizontal boards = 82ft
Total Number of feet of 1 X 4’s needed to complete the project = 82 + (3.25 ft X 25) / 10 (we used 1X4X10’s) = 16.325 total pieces of 1X4X10 — So lets round to 17 to be safe.
Once you have the measurements figured out and a bit of a design plan, its time to actually start the project. The first step is to clear your work space of all furniture and decor and wash all the walls. We didn’t only do the board and batten and actually painted his entire room. This meant we had to remove the curtains and blinds around the window, we probably should have also removed the built-in shelving in his closet but chose not too. Painting around all those small edges proved to be a tedious task 😅 Make sure to remove the outlet and light switch covers along with any heating vents that are along the wall. You want to ensure that you mud any holes or impurities and then sand that down for a smooth surface. Once you’ve cleared, washed, mudded and sanded all the walls its time to tape all the edges and fixtures that can’t be removed.
Tape with smaller pieces to get better accuracy
Fold the bottom of the tape to create a little grab handle to pull on when you’re done your project, this makes it easier to pull the tape off of the wall.
If you pull the tape off the wall at an angle where you’re below and reaching, it has a higher chance of pulling some drywall off with it.
Top Paint & Installation
Once all the preparation was complete we painted two coats of primer to help cover up the original brown. It’s important to use enough coats of primer when painting over a dark colour so that you can’t see the dark come through.
We decided on a light blue on top and to make the board and batten, closet and window white. Starting with blue, we measured the middle point of the top horizontal board around the entire room. This ended up measuring 37” from the top of the baseboard. We ended up doing 2 coats total of blue on top of the two coats of primer.
Once the blue paint was dry, we started installing the horizontal boards, first with the bottom board and then the top boards. This step was way easier with two people to ensure the boards were level from end to end. It’s important to use a level throughout the entire installation process and to check multiple times that you are level and staying level while hammering or nail gunning the boards into place. Try your best to hit as many studs as you can, specifically with the horizontal boards. The vertical ones will be a bit harder to plan out.
A really good tip I saw a few times was to have a spare piece of wood cut to your desired separation distance. So we had a piece of wood cut in length at 15.5”. This allowed us to just place this piece of wood against the one we just installed to perfectly space out the next piece. Highly recommend this!
I also read that it’s important to measure out each vertical piece individually rather than bulk cut them. Oh man! Am I glad we did that. Although we measured 37”; every piece was just slightly different, we also had to work with a wall that was completely warped. As much as you think its going to save you time, I can promise you, it won’t.
We were perplexed by the window. It was important to me that the room feel cohesive and even. Ultimately we decided to frame around the window from the top horizontal board down to the bottom of the sill, across the sill, then back up to frame the other side to the top of the other horizontal board. We then carried the vertical boards through evenly spaced the same as the other walls (15.5”).
When it came to the corners where two walls met we decided to make each wall match. See what I mean below ⬇️
Basically, we would measure out every vertical piece so it was 15.5” apart, but when you would get to the last piece for that wall, it was never 15.5’ left. We felt if we just made it equal to 15.5” (so for example the last piece has 7” from its edge to the corner, we could measure the next piece out 8.5” to equal the 15.5” separation, that it may actually look less cohesive because every wall would look different.
We opted to make it even. So when the last piece was 7” away from the corner, we would measure out 7” out from the corner on the conjoining wall. This made it look even and cohesive. From there, we would just start measuring out 15.5” from each piece again.
Making it Even & Sealing It Up
Once all of the 1X4’s were installed onto the wall it was time to seal them up and make sure they’re really stuck on there.
For boards that didn’t hit a stud and were quite loose, we used wood glue. On our warped wall we were left with a huge gap between our top horizontal piece and the wall. Honestly, we got super creative with this. We bounced a few ideas around and ended up landing on filling it as much as we could with bath & kitchen caulking, because it comes out so much thicker, faster and more. Then filled it with a bunch of mud, then sanded it all down, then caulked it with wood caulking 😂 it sounds like it was a bit of a mess but it honestly worked out really well. Because we were working with plywood, its not completely even, has holes and indents etc. We worked on each piece of wood to fix any impurities with mud then sanded it down before painting.
We used a wood caulking that can be painted on and dries white on every edge. And between a top and bottom horizontal board and 25 vertical boards, there were a ton of edges!
Painting & Finishing Touches
The final step was painting the lower half of the room (board and batten section). We found it was best to paint all the edges first as the roller has a cleaner finish. We did two coats total of white.
Once you’ve let your paint dry, remove all the tape and put all the covers back on your outlet and light switches. If you had to remove any blinds or curtains, put them back in, then take a step back and enjoy your hard work paid off!